Pilates : Balancing Your Way Out of Back Pain

Posted on Jul 28, 2015

Benefits of Pilates

Are you in a constant struggle with that persistently numbing back pain?

Is this making your daily activities even more difficult as you walk around challenged like an expectant mother on her last trimester? Back pain is considered to be one of the most common health complaints. In fact it is even considered as the fifth common reason for hospital visits in the US. If you have been searching every nook and cranny to find that one solution that works, then you just might hit your answer through pilates. Let’s see how it may be able to do that.

The painful reasons and beginnings

Although it is definitely troubling, it is also fortunate that back pain is not life threatening. In most cases the cause for back pain can be due to problems from the spine, nerves, muscles, bones and joint. It could also be brought by mechanical injuries that result from bad posture, poor body mechanics, or lack of exercise. Some may also be affected by herniated disc, degenerative diseases of the spine, and rare conditions of the spine.

The pain either focus on one place or it could be radiating in nature because of the spine’s network of nerves, muscles and ligaments. This is why back pain is described either as lower back pain, middle back pain, or tailbone pain. But wherever it stems from, the pain can either be a nag to something highly disturbing. Just a couple of hours spent sitting can already bring out this pain, made worse with wrong body mechanics.

So how can Pilates give you the relief that you have been longing for?

Stretching your way to relief?

There are lot of treatments available for back pain today, from physiotherapy to more drastic measures such as surgery. Many people who have long suffered from this and people like Vicky Joseph shared that it came to a point that the pain got so severe that she experienced depression causing her to leave her job. Some people may not get the magnitude of how disturbing this problem is, but it can significantly change someone’s quality of life.

There are several treatments available for back pain, from physiotherapy to more drastic measures like surgery. But there are other unconventional treatments like Pilates which are also touted to be a good treatment for that persistent back pain. This is also what Vicky chose to help her out of the constant pain. Aside from being just a simple treatment, she considers Pilates to be a lifestyle change which helped her manage the pain with long term results.

According to Spine-health, the principles in Pilates are also consistent to those in exercise programs for back health. It focuses on the neutral alignments of the spine and strengthening the deep postural muscles. Studies also support that Pilates is more effective than minimal exercise interventions in reducing pain. However, these researchers also point out that these information also needs to be supported by further investigations.

Pilates Exercise and Back Pain


Joseph Pilates, Founder

Pilates is a mind-body exercise that involves controlled movement, posture and breathing. This is developed by Joseph H. Pilates way back in the 1920’s. This was first accepted by the world of dance as a way to condition the body for ballet and even modern dances. Today Pilates is no longer confined to Pilates studios, but it can also be found in gyms and physiotherapy rooms.

This exercise focuses on the abdominal, gluteal, and paraspinal muscles. It also involves a profressive multiplanar excursion of the trunk and the limbs. It starts with stabilizing the core muscles found in the deep muscle layers of your trunk, and then it proceeds with controlled range of motion exercises. These are done with the goal of increasing muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. As a result, it enhances both your posture and balance. Since Pilates also includes mental exercise, this comes in through the focus you make in concentrating and breathing while performing the exercises.

Pilates are performed on the mat and on specialized equipments. You will be instructed to sit or lie either prone or supine. Then as you maintain this position you use gravity for core stabilization. There are also several equipments which are developed by Mr. Pilates himself, such as the Reformer.

The exercises in a Pilates program can be challenging both mentally and physically, but not so much that it can cause you to struggle. Otherwise, if it is making you more uncomfortable than when you first started, then it should be stopped. This is true for any exercise program. So to ensure that you get it right, professional help is necessary.

It is a general rule that those who are struggling with chronic back pain should avoid exercises that push the spine to extreme flexion or extension. Even flexion with twisting or side bending exercises should also be avoided because these places too much stress on your intervertebral discs. Doing the wrong forms can cause both mental and physical fatigue.

Special considerations

Before you decide on a certain treatment it is very important that the root cause of your back pain is established first. You wouldn’t want to worsen your condition, or get frustrated with something that is not really suited for your case. For instance if you simply do a general core strengthening program, it is highly likely that you will re-enforce the wrong muscles. But if you get an individual assessment first with a health professional, you will be well instructed with the specific exercises to correct your problem.

The full benefits of Pilates may not be realized right away, just as the problems which caused back pain only intensified with time. By learning to use your muscles the right way to support instead of stressing the spine you will get the relief that you so desire with time. This also calls for your commitment, because as they say, “it’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it.”

If you wish to try Pilates, check out our Pilates Singapore Studio and achieve optimum well-being and comfort from whatever aches and pain is brought by poor posture or body mechanics, call Pilates Plus today. We will design a specific program to suit your own needs.